Canadian Museum of History

What’s on at museums in Ottawa

The Ottawa area’s many museums offer rich and entertaining experiences all year round! With programming for all ages and fascinating special exhibits, you’re sure to find the right fit for you and your family. Here’s our handy guide to what you can expect at the many museums in Canada’s capital.

National Gallery of Canada 

Hours (including boutique): Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursdays until 8:00 p.m.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservations, including for free admission period on Thursdays between 5-8:00 p.m.; admission on site also available on a first-come, first-serve basis; enter through the Group Entrance and exit through the Main Entrance.

Art lovers can access almost the entire National Gallery of Canada, including the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries, European and American Galleries, Contemporary Galleries and special exhibits. General admission is free for children under 11 and a self-guided Family Art Adventures activity kit is available for free.

Canadian Museum of Nature

HoursWednesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays until 7:00 p.m.; the first hour on Thursdays and Sundays is reserved for members. Boutique opens at 11:00 a.m. until half an hour past museum closure.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservation, including for free admission period on Thursdays between 4-7:00 p.m.

The permanent galleries at the Canadian Museum of Nature are open to visitors, including the impressive displays of dinosaurs, mammals, birds, the Arctic, live owls (outdoors) and more. You can also enjoy the enormous representation of the Earth hanging in the Atrium. The Nature Café as well as some high-touch areas and amenities remain closed.

Canadian Museum of History

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday until 7:00 p.m.; gift shop open 10:00 a.m. until museum closure.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservations, including for free admission period on Thursdays between 5-7:00 p.m.; admission on site also available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Much of the Canadian Museum of History is open to visitors, including the Grand Hall, the Canadian History Hall, First Peoples Hall, CINÉ+ and special exhibitions. The Panorama Café is also open. Some spaces, including the Canadian Children’s Museum, remain inaccessible.

Canadian War Museum

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday until 7:00 p.m.; gift shop open 11:00 a.m. until museum closure.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservations, including for free admission period on Thursdays between 5-7:00 p.m.; admission on site also available on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can explore most of the permanent spaces at the Canadian War Museum, including the Canadian Experience Galleries, the Royal Canadian Legion Hall of Honour and the LeBreton Gallery, as well as special exhibitions. The Memorial Hall and some interactive elements are currently inaccessible. The Café and dining area are open.

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Current hours (including boutique): Thursday to Monday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservation only, including for daily free admission period (4:00-5:00 p.m.); tickets are not sold on site.

Most of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum is currently accessible, including the entire world-renowned collection of aircraft, as well as Engine Alley and the Canada in Space exhibition. Certain spaces and interactive elements remain inaccessible. The café is closed but picnic areas are available.

CanadaAgricultureand Food Museum

Current hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservation only, including for daily free admission period (4:00-5:00 p.m.); tickets are not sold on site.

Ottawa’s working farm within the city highlights Canada’s agricultural heritage, including plants and animals. Most of the CanadaAgricultureand Food Museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits, barns and viewing areas are open. The outdoor skating rink is open, weather permitting (museum ticket required). Some interactive elements are unavailable and visitors are asked to follow a directional path. Picnic areas are available.

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Current hours (including boutique): Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Ticketing: Timed advanced reservation only, including for daily free admission period (4:00-5:00 p.m.); tickets are not sold on site.

Visitors at the Canada Science and Technology Museum can enjoy the expansive indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the live demonstrations on the demo stage. Most exhibitions and collections are accessible, except high touch areas such as ZOOOM (Children’s Innovation Zone), Exploratek, and the Crazy Kitchen. The café is closed but picnic areas are available.

Diefenbunker Museum

Current hours: Wednesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Ticketing:  Timed advanced reservation strongly recommended; in-person admission on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Diefenbunker Museum, one of the region’s most unique attractions, is a Cold War-era underground bunker located in the west end of Ottawa. Explore the museum on your own by downloading the museum’s free, audio guide (bring earphones). Visitors are asked to follow a directional path. On select evenings, you can also test your skills in the world’s largest escape room—Escape the Diefenbunker (advanced booking required).

Ottawa Art Gallery

Hours (including boutique): Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Ticketing: Walk-ins welcome; both entrances (10 Daly and 50 Mackenzie King Bridge) are open.

The always free and fully accessible Ottawa Art Gallery is a large and modern space located in the Downtown Rideau area, adjacent to the ByWard Market neighbourhood. Browse the exhibits to see works of art that represent the region’s artistic past and present, as well as Indigenous art and Group of Seven masterpieces. The Jackson Café is currently closed.

City museums and historic sites

City of Ottawa museum and historic sites present the region’s culture and heritage. Some are seasonal and others may be reopening. Verify schedules for individual sites to confirm.

Closed until further notice

Bytown Museum

Vanier Museopark

Virtual options

You can experience these sites, along with many others, from anywhere at any time through virtual tours, exhibitions, activities and performances.

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